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New Phase 2 Clinical Trial for Patients with Metastatic High Grade Neuroendocrine Tumors

As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Fox Chase Cancer Center offers our patients the most advanced treatment options through clinical trials, many of wNamrata Vijayvergia, MDNamrata Vijayvergia, MDhich are not readily available elsewhere. Our nationally ranked doctors specialize in the development of these studies — specifically phase 1 and 2 trials.

In this issue we highlight a phase 2 clinical trial for previously treated Metastatic High Grade Neuroendocrine tumors. This study is led by Namrata Vijayvergia, MD, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers. Dr. Vijayvergia worked with Dr. Paul F Engstrom, MD, who is a medical oncologist with over 45 years of experience in gastrointestinal and particularly neuroendocrine malignancies, to develop this trial. There is a national unmet need for clinical trials targeting patients with this rare malignancy. The study is one of a kind in the nation and is designed to help patients with high grade neuroendocrine tumors specifically.

Pembrolizumab is an immunotherapy drug which may help the immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. Pembrolizumab has already been used to treat a type of skin cancer called melanoma and for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer; and therefore the doctors would now like to test if this drug can be used to treat metastatic high-grade neuroendocrine tumors. The purpose of this research study is to test if pembrolizumab, can shrink the size of the tumors; to determine if pembrolizumab is safe and tolerable; and to determine if it can increase survival in patients with High Grade Neuroendocrine tumors.

21 people over the age of 18 years with metastatic, high-grade neuroendocrine tumors will take part in this research study. Patients who have high grade neuroendocrine tumors of lung/thymus origin (large or small cell type) and merkel cell carcinoma may not participate in this study. To participate in this study, patients must have received at least 1 platinum-containing treatment (cisplatin, carboplatin or oxaliplatin).